Messaging Cohousing to various orgs (was Re: Cohousing Weekend - July 16-18 in Conway NH)
From: Craig Ragland (craigraglandgmail.com)
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2010 08:10:57 -0700 (PDT)
As is often the case, I agree with much (but not all) of what Sharon says.
Sharon, it was great to meet you last weekend at the conference. Lets create
more time to talk at the 2011 conference there in DC (your backyard).

I think a high-level point is to consider exactly:

   Who's the audience?

as we figure out what to say to whom.

I think we need to think strategically about what we say, delivering the
most useful messages to best serve our needs. It isn't necessary or helpful
for forming groups to run into roadblocks because they are trying to explain
cohousing to everybody you encounter... that job belongs to others,
including Coho/US.

While you have an ethincal requirement to share openly and transparently
this with prospective residents. There are many decision-makers that will
affect your project. With those we to be very cautious about our messaging
to those that don't care much about our needs. They do care about whether
actually develop the property, pay taxes, pay back loans, be a good
insurance risk, follow the laws and local zoning, etc., etc.

Craig

On Sun, Jun 27, 2010 at 7:58 AM, Sharon Villines
<sharon [at] sharonvillines.com>wrote:

>
>
> On Jun 26, 2010, at 4:10 PM, Liz Ryan Cole wrote:
>
> > a permissible use?
>
> Not sure if "permissible use" is a legal term or not, but from reading
> this list for ~15 years, many people have gotten zoning variations.
>
> One community in Utah got permission to build on 4 parcels of land by
> grouping all the houses at the four corners. Which suggests an
> argument based on the number of houses that would be on the land if it
> were separate parcels.
>
> > CO-HOUSING PROJECT.  A residential development or project on one or
> > more contiguous parcels of land,
> > developed by a group of people who define the community as
> > cohousing and who intend to live in the community themselves ,
> > designed and built in accordance with the co-housing requirements of
> > Article XIII operated as a condominium, co-op or similar form which
> > allows for individual ownership of each dwelling unit, and including
> > one or more common areas for use by the residents such as a shared
> > kitchen, dining area, library, computer room, laundry, greenhouse,
> > fitness area, play area or the like
>
> > COHOUSING PROJECT.  A residential development on ________.
>
> Specify the land since you own it and the vagueness sounds like they
> would be approving this use any where in the town/county. They
> certainly won't want to do that because it would require a full
> revamping of their code.
>
> > developed by a group of people
>
>
> Again, too vague. Put in the name of your group and legally
> incorporate yourselves if you have to.
>
> >  who define the community as cohousing
>
> If you mention cohousing at all don't call it a community unless that
> word is a big deal in your area -- is town selling itself that way?
> There are ways to define cohousing that make it more palatable.
> "Building Sustainable Neighborhoods" by Mid Atlantic Cohousing is a
> good small book that presents "cohousing neighborhoods" from the
> developer's point of view. It would be persuasive, I think, to a
> planning board.
>
> The pictures are also a good sell. They look like "real" houses and
> condos.
>
> >  and who intend to live in the community themselves
>
> Many people build their own houses and request zoning variations of
> one sort or another (zoning can get really weird). I'm not sure what
> the wording would be here but it could be better. You might say
> something like. "Members of the [name of legal entity] are developing
> the homes for their families.... "
>
> I would suggest paying Jim Leach or Katy McCamet for an  hour of their
> time to discuss ways to word this so it is likely to be acceptable and
> for approaching the zoning board.
>
> > designed and built in accordance with the co-housing requirements of
> > Article XIII operated as a condominium, co-op or similar form which
> > allows for individual ownership of each dwelling unit
>
> What does Article XIII refer to? If they allow condominiums why
> wouldn't they allow this one? You don't even have to mention
> cohousing. It's irrelevant to the approval unless there are other
> issues related to your design and Article XIII.
>
> > , and including one or more common areas for use by the residents
> > such as a shared kitchen, dining area, library, computer room,
> > laundry, greenhouse, fitness area, play area or the like
>
> Without figures in front of me I would say that the definition of
> condominiums now includes common facilities like swimming pools,
> clubhouses, "party kitchens," fitness rooms, "business centers," etc.
>
> But don't say "shared." Sounds like a commune. Use "available to
> residents."
>
> Although I just found this fine phrase on a condo description,
> "evocative communal spaces," which sounds like free love. Check out:
>
> http://www.condominiums.com
>
> There are so many ways to say things. If you can sit in on any
> meetings of the planning or zoning board, or read transcripts or
> reports, it would be very helpful you to find out what they are
> thinking and how they respond to other people. Helps avoid some
> language pitfalls, like one person who is against all exterior
> lighting on the southeast corner or roofs that are slanted at 30
> degrees instead of 33.
>
> And then there are the neighbors. That's the next challenge.
>
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> "Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other,
> so we can have some conversation." Judith Martin
>
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>
>
>

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